As I write this post, I have been sheltering in place in Texas for over two months. One thing I am grateful for regarding my company is how well they have responded to the COVID-19 virus. The very day the World Health Organization classified the virus as a pandemic, we were told to work remotely from our houses for not just our health and safety, but those of our coworkers as well. But experiencing this new change in the way we live has brought its own fears, and there have been days where I had trouble focusing on my work during the panic. If you’re like me, you may have found your own ways to overcome the anxiety and focus on the work that must be done, whether you are a parent, a teacher, a coworker or a student. If you haven’t yet found some way to see past the scary, maybe my tips will help you.
Be Real With What You Need
Everyone has their own ways of coping when the anxiety of the world gets to be too much. I have noticed for myself that the stress that came along with COVID-19 was different than the “stressed out at work” mentality or the “stressful home life” mentality. The coronavirus was and is affecting the world at large and really there was nothing that could be done immediately to stop it. I came to realize after many failed attempts that the normal cures – blasting loud music, taking a nap, going for a run – weren’t going to work in this instance. I found that other more physical ways of escape were necessary, like reading a book that took me to a whole other universe, or painting a scenery, something that would force my brain to wholly focus on the task at hand.
Realize It’s Okay Not To Be Okay
This is almost as important as realizing what can help you overcome your anxiety: understanding and accepting that there will be days when you are not okay. I experienced this myself when I heard about children and young adults (which I am included), contracting the virus but being asymptomatic and possibly spreading it around without even knowing it. It gave me plenty of anxiety to think about all the individuals I may have encountered before quarantine and made a resolution seem impossible. This fact reinforced the concept of social distancing and quarantine to me, for which I have been strictly following ever since.
Search Out the Facts
With the amount of social media channels and news outlets available, there have been plenty of information and misinformation spread surrounding the COVID-19 virus. How do you know who to listen to to know what’s really going on? I quickly realized, I could not spend much time on social media without my heart rate increasing and anxiety going through the roof. There were so many different points of view and different thoughts on how each state and country should handle their outbreak. For the past months I have been focusing on the science, for example The World Health Organization, as well as my local news outlets for updates on social distancing restrictions and outbreak numbers. While learning some of the facts and figures can raise my fear and anxiety, I have found that I feel worse when I am not informed on what is going on. Find a happy medium that works for you and stick with it!
Make a Plan
Once you find the tricks to keep you calm during this stressful time, make a plan on how to implement them throughout your day. Be open with your employers too, about any needs you may have that cross over into your work. If your company, like mine, offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) then taking advantage of those offerings could be a huge help along the way.
These tips are not the end-all be-all of assistance during this time, so please share anything with us at firstname.lastname@example.org that has been helpful to you! If you do find that you are experiencing more than your regular amount of fear, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has plenty of online resources available to anyone in need.